Downingtown West's Josh Warren (above) has committed to Cornell. (Photo: Josh Verlin/CoBL)
At Downingtown West, Josh Warren and Ryan Betley have been two of the most integral pieces in the recent revival of the Whippets’ basketball program; West came dangerously close to the district playoffs two years ago and made it to the state playoffs last year after winning a Ches-Mont conference title.
Entering their senior year, it was expected that at least one, if not both, of the Whippet stars would play hoops at the Division I level. Betley confirmed this when he committed to play for the Penn Quakers in July.
At that point, Warren still had yet to receive a D-I offer.
Fast forward two months and Warren has now committed to play for the Cornell Big Red, where he’ll be Ivy League rivals with his teammate and friend, Betley.
“I talked to [Ryan], we’re looking forward to becoming rivals after having been teammates the last couple years,” Warren said. “It’ll be fun because our families can meet up and go to the games; we’re excited to play each other.”
A 6-foot-9, 225-pound forward, Warren is a mobile big man who can face up or play with his back to the basket, with a jump shout out to 15 feet and a reliable right hand hook.
Warren had several Division II offers coming out of the summer, where he played behind several high-major big men on Under Armour-sponsored WeR1. But St. Francis (Pa.) became the first D-I to offer, one month ago, and Cornell followed three weeks later, on Sep. 11.
Warren, who like Betley is a fantastic student, wanted a school that featured both its basketball program as well as strong academics. Cornell brought all that and more to the table.
“I fit in well, I met all the players and and really liked them, I like their style of play, the campus was amazing and of course, the academics are amazing,” he said.
Warren also liked the young nature of Cornell’s roster, which would allow him to spend multiple years playing alongside the same core of teammates. The Big Red’s fast-paced, four-guard playing style also appealed to Warren, who enjoys getting up and down the floor in an up-tempo manner.
The Big Red are just five years removed from a run to the NCAA Sweet Sixteen, but have finished in the bottom half of the Ivy League each year since then, most recently going 13-17 with a 5-9 conference mark.
Ironically enough, those nine conference losses include a season sweep at the hands of Penn, the aforementioned future home of Betley.
As juniors, Warren and Betley led the Whippets to a 24-6 record and spot in the PIAA Class AAAA state playoffs, where they lost to eventual champions Roman Catholic in the second round. Warren averaged 17.5 ppg, eight rebounds and two blocks per contest.
This year, the Ches-Mont favorites will also be one of the top contenders for the District 1 AAAA title. Having both gotten their college commitments out of the way, the two seniors can focus all of their attention on what has the potential to be one of Downingtown West's best seasons.
The Whippets return their three-headed senior monster of Betley, Warren, and Dom Guerrera, as well as talented 6-7 junior George Gordon from last year's Ches-Mont title-winning team.
“It’s really a release that I won’t have to worry about it during the season, so the focus will be on just having another successful season," Warren said. "We’re excited, we have a lot of potential and should have another great season.”